Preparing Your Home For Sale

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A little bit of effort and money can go a long way in presenting your home for sale. If you are short on time and organizing skills, Team Clarke has a professional organizer and stager that we recommend – give us a call and we’ll be happy to help connect you with these contacts as well as everyone from landscapers to painters. In the meantime, follow the steps below to maximize the value of your home with minimal cost! 


  • Front Door, Entrance & Stairs: This is generally the first impression a buyer has of your home. Ensure the door is nicely painted. Hanging a seasonal wreath can be a nice touch. Make sure the front handle is easy to use and open.Ensure this area is swept, clean of debris, and not slippery! A decorative front door mat will add a touch of colour and also help keep your home clean.
  • Planters & Flower boxes: Unless there is snow on the ground, we recommend investing in some colourful annuals. If it’s too cold outside, try some artificial flowers, buyers won’t be able to tell the difference from the street and your house will look better in photographs.
  • Yard: Invest in a yard clean up by a professional landscaper or prepare to spend a Saturday cleaning up your garden beds, cutting the lawn and pruning trees. Ensure garbage, toys, yard tools are put away.
  • Exterior paint: Painting the exterior of your home can be expensive, but if your house is in need of a new paint job, this can make a large difference in curb appeal. Walk around the home to see if there are any touch ups needed. Label paint can and leave for new home owners.
  • Roof, Gutters & Windows: Roofs are a major consideration for new buyers. If your roof is older, consider calling a roofing company to make small repairs, replace ridgecaps or getting a quote on a new roof. Replacing it yourself may actually save you money when it comes to contract negotiations. Have gutters cleaned and if it’s been a while since you cleaned the exterior of your windows, this can be worthwhile doing.
  • Garage: It is ok to have a full garage, but clearing a pathway for buyers to look around is a good idea. Check for any unwelcome pests and sweep the floor.


Walk through your home as a buyer would. Start at the front door and walk through taking note of anything that might not be in the right spot. Remove anything offensive. Don’t be afraid of re-arranging furniture to make it easier for buyers to move around, or to make your home appear more spacious. Paying attention to these places will help make it easier for you to get ready for future showings but if you find yourself strapped for time, check out our post on how to get ready for a showing in 10 minutes or less!

  • Bedrooms: Ensure all beds are made. If your bedspread is as old as your house, it might be worth a trip to Ikea to buy some fresh, neutral linens.
  • Cleanliness & Clutter: If cleaning is not your forte, hiring a cleaning company to do a thorough clean prior to bringing your house to market can make the home more appealing to buyers. Remember to clean fingerprints off of stainless steel appliances, dust blinds, wipe windowsills.  You’re moving anyway, so now’s the time to get a head start by packing items in your cupboards, drawers, and closets to make your house feel larger.
  • Fireplaces: Ensure they are working and if it’s cold outside, make sure your pilot light is lit. If it’s Summer and you have turned your pilot light off, be sure to leave a note for the building inspector. If the glass on your gas fireplace is foggy, clean with proper solution from your local fireplace retailer.
  • Furnace: Have your furnace serviced and have the date of the servicing written on a sticker on the side.
  • Lights: Dust lights and replace with the brightest lightbulbs. If your light fixtures are dated, updating them can be relatively cheap and easy.
  • Paint: A fresh coat of paint always makes a room look better. If you’re re-painting choose neutral colours like beige, and white will always make a room feel larger.
  • Personal Items: Put away any jewellery, valuables, and items of a personal nature.
  • Photos: There are two schools of thought about photos, some realtors recommend removing all photos, others suggest leaving a few photographs that can show a buyer what a nice family they are potentially purchasing the home from. If you choose to leave a few photos around the home, we suggest having a few, too many makes a room or cabinet appear smaller.
  • Smell: Fresh Flowers, Baked Bread, Apple Pie & Cookies are some vintage tricks of the trade –who can argue with the smell of a fresh apple pie in the oven? If you choose to apply any of these tricks, save them for an open house! If you have animals, you may not notice their odour but the buyers will –a gentle air freshener is advisable. Avoid cooking strong smelling foods while your house is on the market.
    • Appliances: Do not have anything on the front of your fridge, clean it off completely. Wipe down the inside of your fridge and throw out any food that has a strong odour. Make sure all appliances are in full working order. If they are not, get them fixed or ensure that you disclose this on the Property Disclosure Statement.
    • Kitchen (and/or Dining Room) Table: Setting the table with clean placemats, shiny silverware, and nice stemware can set the mood for potential buyers.
    • Pantry: Clean out & organize the pantry. Throw out anything that is old/stale and donate what you don’t need to the local food bank.
    • Small Appliances: Pack away those appliances that you only use occasionally. Leave the coffee maker and toaster at most, but only if they match the décor of your kitchen.
    • Cleanliness: Make sure this room is spotless! Check for mould, re-caulk the tub if needed. A fresh shower curtain or liner is a nice idea. Make sure hand towels are clean, and neatly hung up.
    • Personal items: Put away any personal toiletries & prescriptions.

Congratulations! Your home is now market-ready. If you haven’t hired a staging professional to help prepare your home to be photographed, check out our post on everything you need to do for picture-perfect listing photos.